- Amazon warehouse workers are more likely to get injured than those at competing companies, according to Washington Post analysis.
- For every 100 Amazon employees about 5.9 were injured in 2020, as compared to 2.5 at Walmart warehouses.
- Amazon said the company has actively been working to boost safety protocol at fulfillment centers.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Amazon warehouse workers are more likely to get injured than employees at comparable companies like Walmart, according to a report from The Washington Post.
In the past four years, the company has had the highest rate of serious injuries at its warehouses – incidents that led employees to stop working or change their role at Amazon, the publication found.
Last year the company reported over 24,400 injuries and about 12% of the warehouses that reported injuries in the US were owned by Amazon, according to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) obtained by the Post. The publication collected its own data, but based its story off a report from the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC).
Employees at Amazon warehouses are nearly twice as likely to report serious injuries, according to the SOC report, which found that for every 100 employees there were 5.9 Amazon injuries reported last year, as compared to 2.5 at Walmart warehouses.
An Amazon spokesperson told Insider the company has been actively working to make fulfillment centers safer and avoid workplace injuries.
“We grew our dedicated workplace health and safety team to more than 6,200 employees and invested more than $1B in new safety measures in 2020 – expanding programs like WorkingWell, and implementing new technology and processes, PPE, and enhanced cleaning and sanitization to protect against COVID-19,” the spokesperson said. “While any incident is one too many, we are continuously learning and seeing improvements through ergonomics programs, guided exercises at employees’ workstations, mechanical assistance equipment, workstation setup and design, and forklift telematics and guardrails – to name a few.”
An expert said the injuries could be attributed to Amazon’s high productivity goals, though the OSHA data does not break down the root of the workplace injuries. Debbie Berkowitz, a former OSHA chief of staff, who now works at a worker advocacy group, told The Post that Amazon’s employee metrics are too lofty and pointed to Amazon’s performance-tracking system that gauges each employee’s productivity level.
Though workplace injuries at Amazon were still higher than at other warehouses in 2020, the number of injuries slightly decreased. The number of incidents dropped around the same time the company briefly halted its performance-tracking system in order to give workers more time to meet COVID-19 safety standards, according to The Post.
In April, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in his final letter to shareholders that the company is working to implement new tools in order to prevent musculoskeletal disorders – an issue that accounts for about 40% of workplace injuries. He said the company needs “to do a better job for our employees” and told shareholders Amazon will invest over $300 million in 2021 to make warehouses safer.
Since the pandemic started, Amazon has continued to grow at a record pace. Last month, the company announced its plans to hire another 75,000 workers in the US and Canada for its fulfillment centers, as well as transportation sector.
The e-commerce giant’s $17 per hour average starting pay has made Amazon an increasingly attractive employment option. Experts told Insider in May that the company’s higher pay opportunities pose a threat to other minimum wage jobs.
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